And sometimes it’s just like a Friday…!

Here’s a story of how PR can be so much fun! My firm handled the PR for the launch of TGI Friday’s and I have to say, it really is always Friday in there.
For us Karachiites, eating out is probably a must on weekends – and of course the quick lunch hours a couple of times a week are an entertainment all on their own. Especially when you’re having a bad work day, a quick bite with friends for a pick-me-up is not a bad idea at all.
This is what brings me to talk about the newest rage in K-town – TGI Friday’s! A job well done by the new franchise owners, MCR – the critics loved it! The food was every bit as delicious as anywhere else in the world and the drinks were just as yummy as well.

Oreo Madness

Oreo Madness

Mac&Cheese from the Kids' Menu

Mac&Cheese from the Kids’ Menu

The happy, hardworking team that brings you TGI Friday's!

The happy, hardworking team that brings you TGI Friday’s!

Although it was a PR activity, the product sold itself. The ambiance was casual, yet gave the air of a power lunch with each and every table buzzing with happy customers (mind you, this is on a weekday lunch hour). The food was cooked to perfection – I especially enjoyed the mac&cheese from the kids’ menu, never had anything so comforting and fun ever before.

Lessons learnt:
– TGI Friday’s is good food
– When the product is so good, the PR becomes a piece of cake! (or should I say, the signature Oreo Madness by TGI Friday’s?!)
– In here, it’s always Friday!

Cinnabon Karachi goes ‘Social’!

Knowing the local social media gurus in your locality is becoming an important practice for any business. The F&B industry is catching up to it as well.

The idea behind engaging bloggers to advocate your product is simple.

– Drive brand awareness

– Increase engagement

– Quick turnaround

– Up those sales!

Cinnabon hosted its first ever Bloggers’ Meet in Karachi in anticipation of creating hype for their second outlet in Karachi. This particular kiosk style outlet offers the full range of Cinnabon delicacies ranging from their scrumptious Cinnamon rolls to their refreshing and ultra delicious Chillatas. My personal favourite are the Cinnamon sticks.

Definitely a great way to keep up the quality and recall of the product. Kudos to Cinnabon for setting up a good practice.

From Pakistan to the World – ‘Come dump on us, why don’t you?’

It is not about improving the image of Pakistan but cutting down the parallel economy of Pakistan. We are so fixated on getting our way by hook or by crook that we don’t realize the collateral damage we do for the sake of making a quick buck. This is the reason the rest of the world uses us for all things negative!

Our country has been a target for all sorts of waste. It started from defected clothes and accessories in “Landa Bazaars” to the e-waste coming in, in the form of used computers, then dengue came in with tyres and now end of life plastic in the form of IV tubes, urine bags and what not.

My question is when will this end?

Most recently I learnt that large containers of medical waste have been entering Karachi with medical waste, I also learnt that they were confiscated by the authorities. I relaxed a little. But then to learn that this end of life plastic has been transported through the dry port in Lahore and already available to local manufacturers??

On my visit to Lahore two days ago I along with some other media friends of mine took a drive down to Shadran which is the scrapyard heaven in Lahore. I see crushed plastic, piles of medical waste, IV tubes and infusion bags lying on the ground in warehouse and people coming to buy them, I caught hold of one of the kids who works there, to my utter shock he tells me that local manufacturers who make plastic products even down to utensils come and buy this scrap to reuse!

Disturbed and frustrated with the lack of common sense in my fellow countrymen and the selfishness of the world for sending us their waste, I researched. Under normal circumstances all medical waste must be disposed off through incinerators after which their smoke should undergo a special process before being released in the atmosphere. The import of medical waste used in operation theatres of countries abroad poses the risk of bringing new and unfound diseases to Pakistan. Pakistan a country where health facilities are not strongly developed, the manufacturing of plastic products from medical waste is a calamity in the making one that can have devastating consequences if the relevant authorities do not step in to curb these practices urgently.

While Pakistan’s import policy clearly mentions that plastic scrap is only importable by manufacturers only for their own use subject to the condition that they shall furnish to Customs authorities a certificate from relevant government agency of the exporting countries that the goods are not hazardous and comply with the provisions of the Basel Convention and it shall not be used in the production of bags for packing of foodstuff”. Unfortunately if one is to look at statistics, the rise in import of plastic scrap by almost 23 thousand tonnes in the last five years is also mainly due to the fact that local trading of plastic scrap is being carried out. The outbreak of Dengue in Punjab was also due to the import of plastic scrap where a mosquito entered Punjab in an imported used tire. More than 300 people were killed as a result while over 14,000 were infected by the disease.

Keeping statistics in mind our masses are uneducated and will eventually be exposed to this plastic in different forms. In fact, the educated population will also not know the difference. As sensationalism goes, I think this new finding is definitely catering to all that our media stands for. Creating a hype over something that actually matters. Stop this waste from being sold any further and care about your fellow human beings Pakistan!

And for the western world sending us their trash – stop dumping your problems on us, we have enough of our own!

How to better your communication skills.

The strength of a good PR pro is to be prepared for the unexpected and keep an open, calm mind to be able to best deal with different situations. As in every other case, in PR also, practice makes perfect and the practice of PR is the art of communication. May it be spoken, written or through your actions, knowing how your audience will decode your message is what counts for effective communication.

By making some basic practices part of your life, your communication strategy will automatically refine itself.

1.       Read

Reading opens the mind. In today’s fast paced world, bookstores have basically become a footnote. It is important to change that, reading enhances the language, imagination, information and the perception of what one reads is subjective to each individual. If one doesn’t have the time to read for leisure, at least read articles, features and blogs – helps in collecting a variety of perceptions.

2.       Write

A PR specialist has to write. From emails to press releases to articles, a PR person must be a pro when it comes to writing. The written world should be simple and crystal clear to the reader.

3.       Hear

Listen to what people say and think before your respond. Listening with concentration kicks into gear your ability to understand and comprehend. Listen not only to the words but also to the tone.

4.       Understand your message

Getting your message across is paramount to progressing. To do this, you must understand what your message is, what audience you are sending it to, and how it will be perceived. You must also weigh-in the circumstances surrounding your communications, such as situational and cultural context.

5.        Observe

Be interested in what is around you. Everything tells a story. By observing your surroundings, the interactions around you, it is easy to assess similar situations you may have to handle. Observation is the key to understanding human behavior and will teach you how to deal with different people as well as gauge their reactions beforehand.  

6.       Know-it-all

For any PR person it is very important to have a substantial knowledge of everything under the sun. Agreed that it is impossible, but current affairs, history, law, politics and basic world news should be any PR person’s forte’. Knowledge is power and having the ability to speak at ease on any given topic is the sign of a good PR pro. Flaunting your knowledge is never a good idea.

7.       Keep it simple

Communication should be clear and precise to get the best feedback. Using complex words may not get your message across as clearly as you would hope.

 

The Communication Process

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Hello world!

Hello People,

I am a Public Relations Specialist and I love telling people I work in PR – I hate that no one outside of the industry understands what I do and so here is a blog about the everyday eccentricities and more about life in PR!